It’s Earth Day again. Although we think of every day as Earth Day at the Seed, there is a sense of celebration and commitment to planetary stewardship on this day. Often we have chosen a school-wide theme, with each class doing a similar type of project. This year everyone was invited to do anything that’s an extension of current studies. As I moved from classroom to classroom, it made me smile to see all of the vibrant expressions of appreciation for the planet.
Toddler 1s made bird feeders out of recycled paper tubes, honey, and bird seed. They also made small Earth paintings with a red heart stamped on them. Toddler 2s students made Earth art and a lovely Earth Day banner that hangs outside their door. Early 3s were hard at work creating life sized robots out of recycled materials. Additionally, they made a big “We Love Earth” sign. Preschool 3s flooded their outdoor area and fully immersed themselves head to toe in mud and water. They also each took home an envelope of dried peas to plant as seeds in their home gardens in the fall. Next door, the Preschool 4s continued their study of the rainforest by transforming their classroom walls into a 3-D mural. A giant tree, paper vines, and living creatures began to appear right in front of my eyes.
PreK students focused on harvesting seeds in their garden. Skillful hands removed dried peas and nasturtium seeds from withering vines and plants. Later in the day they painted coffee filters earth colors, then tie up the filters with yarn to create a small bag to take the seeds home. Kindergarten students made extraordinary Earth collages out of cardboard and scrap paper. Each child glued a traced handprint on their Earth, with a heart in the center. Most importantly, they celebrated Earth Day kindergarten-style by running through the sprinklers.
The 1st/2nd graders had a conversation about recyclable materials, and also those that are not. Earlier in the week they wrote about what they’d do to be a friend of the Earth, and learned about the value of trees in preventing hot spots in cities. A generous parent donated a small tree for each child to take home and plant. Students in the 3rd-5th grade class spent the week reflecting on and drawing their ideas of how they want the Earth to be. Their thoughts were translated into chalk art that currently fills our front sidewalks with Earth Day messages. The messages continue to draw attention from arriving parents, impressed with the work and the Seed’s enthusiastic honoring of Earth Day.
I’d like to close with this writing from Jack Plehn, one of our 4th graders: “I want the Earth to be a peaceful place where everyone can live harmoniously without stress, anger, or violence. I want all living things to be free, I want everyone to be happy, and I want the Earth to be healthy.” His words speak for all of us as we intentionally nurture our current generation of planetary stewards.
(artwork courtesy of Kenzie Kras)